Residents say that many roads have turned into mud paths, and several others sport potholes making it a nightmare to navigate.

Damaged road in Gottigere, with a few houses and a cyclist in the background.Bengaluru NavaNirmana Party
news Civic Issues Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 13:56

Roads turning into mud paths, potholes the size of craters, and leaking storm drains have sadly been a reality in Bengaluru for many years. Plumes of dust rising into the air every time a vehicle moves, and motorists struggling to navigate among potholes is not a pleasant reality; however, it is precisely one that the residents of Bengaluru's Gottigere ward have been facing over the last five years. Although the city's civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, says that over Rs 80 crore has been spent on repairs related to roads and storm drains in the wards over the last five years, residents lament that there is no visible change in the condition of the roads in Gottigere. 

According to Bengaluru NavaNirman Party's (BNP) data, which is also available on the BBMP's new website, a total of 405 projects were approved for Gottigere over the last five years amounting to Rs 172 crore. Of this, Rs 80,37,54,203 has been sanctioned for road and storm drain repairs. Residents say that despite multiple complaints to the local corporator, their pleas are met with a singular response: No funds.

“South Avenue Layout (in Gottigere) is neglected like other areas. The roads in disrepair, strewn with potholes and jostling alongside drains that overflow in the monsoon. We have been approaching our corporator for years, seeking that the roads be fixed. The corporator’s constant response, again all-too-familiar, was a lack of funds,” said Aparna Kishore, a resident of the area.

According to the information provided by the BBMP, Rs 2 crore was allocated for repair of roads in South Avenue Layout. However, residents questioned that if the project was approved and sanctioned, why the works were not carried out at all. “We were not given any information by the corporator over the last five years despite repeated efforts and now to our shock, we learned from the BNP Citizen Portal that an amount of Rs 2 crores has been sanctioned for maintenance of roads in South Avenue Layout. We are completely clueless on what has happened to this money," Poongothai, a resident of Gottigere said. 

Srikanth Narasimhan, General Secretary of BNP, said in a statement that the residents were not consulted or informed about the alleged repairs which happened in Gottigere, and questioned where the funds for these projects went. “Citizens are neither consulted nor kept informed about what is happening in their wards/localities, despite them paying their taxes. It is time for citizens to be consulted and allowed to participate in the process of ward-level projects approval and execution, which is the only way to remove corruption, inefficiency and bad work quality in these projects," he said. 

Speaking to TNM, BBMP Chief Engineer (Roads) Pralhad said that a major road issue is the ongoing works to provide drinking water and sanitation facilities to the 110 villages which were added to the BBMP limits in 2005. These 110 villages do not have Cauvery water connections or sewage connections. He said that the digging works for these projects have led to damaged roads. 

Watch: Bad roads make navigating through Bengaluru's Gottigere a nightmare for motorists

BBMP officials said that the pipeline construction work would take longer, due to which the residents are now facing the issue of bad roads. They also said that many properties in Gottigere ward came up on land belonging to the Revenue Department illegally. As a result, many homeowners who pay property tax have constructed houses without BBMP sanction, and without paying betterment charges. "Road repairs, drain repairs are done in areas where people have constructed properties legally. This is supposed to be revenue land. How can we provide more funds when people have not tried to pay betterment charges and fines for illegal constructions? Besides, the digging work by BWSSB (Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board) is still going on. We have sanctioned funds for road repairs even in areas where illegal constructions have come up. But first the BWSSB must finish laying the pipelines," a senior BBMP official said. 

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